Final reports from Mexico I

Guatemala/Mexico10This week has been full of lots of different activities as well as end of year wrap-up activities. Each of us has been working very hard on writing a paper on a cultural theme about Mexico. Although the paper is not a huge stretch many of us have been nervous about the presentation over our topic in Spanish. Need less to say there has been a mix of emotions from happy to scared and nervousness throughout the group. Aside from the regular activities at the university we have been on a couple of excursions throughout the area.

On Friday we went and visited a bull ranch nearby. It was really interesting to see where the bulls are raised after seeing a bull fight; which is the end of the bull’s life. The ranch was decorated with lots of bull heads on the walls giving the name of the matador, where the fight was and how many ears the matador received after the killing. Each room was decorated to make you feel like you were in the rustic Wild West. Each ranch has its’ own chapel and they even hold their own services on Sundays.

After a delicious breakfast at the ranch we went out on a tour of the outside of the ranch. Each bull is classified by weight and breed and kept separate in different pens. We learned a lot about the bulls; one thing in particular that was interesting to me was that bulls are never attracted to the color red it’s actually a myth. The bulls are attracted to movement because they are color blind, so the color of the cloth has little to no importance to the bull.

We ended the tour by going to the practice ring on the ranch. Here we saw a two year old calf being tested for breeding qualities. The ranch hands took turns taking passes at the cow. The cow was quite young but she sure did have a lot of energy and knew exactly what she was supposed to do in that ring. Some of our group members even had the chance to go into the ring and try their hand at being a matador. A tradition on this particular bull ranch was to have their guests play dominoes in the bull ring. Each person would in turn run into the center of the ring and lay their domino on the ground and run back out; all the while the ranch hands are enticing the cow to charge and run around the ring. It would have been way more dangerous and scary had the cow been bigger!

As my time here in Mexico is coming to a close I am sad to be leaving my host family. All throughout this trip I have been met with such generosity and hospitality being a complete stranger to the country as well as each family and their homes. I have learned a very important lesson about hospitality and just how far people are willing to go out of their way for those they do not even know. Here I am in the middle of a country I do not know, with a foreign culture and language; yet here is a family that is willing to open up their home to me and to give me everything I need and more. I have made a very meaningful relationship with my host family and as a result have learned a lot about their culture and gotten to know my family in unique and wonderful ways. I can only hope that back in my own culture in the United States I can extend the same hospitality to those that come my way trying to adapt to a new and foreign language and culture.

-Nicole Yoder